Review Summary: It's your favorite Pink...
In more ways than one, Pink Season is upon us. Firstly, this album is out. But beyond that, George Miller’s "passion" project has taken on a ubiquity that almost no one could have anticipated. When the original Pink Guy project dropped in 2014, it could’ve been considered a niche project--another piece in an unexpectedly ambitious internet endeavor. But now, 2 million subscribers over 2 channels later, Filthy Frank and, by extension, Pink Guy, are bona fide celebrities. Under the most unlikely of circumstances, Pink Season
comes with the unexpected weight that is usually reserved for the sophomore albums of more high-profile major label acts. And it largely succeeds.
One of the more identifiable ways that this album improves over Pink Guy
is in the production values. The production is definitely more varied and better mixed here. The vocals are respectfully high in the mix, meaning that the problem of muffled or overly compressed/clipping vocals isn’t at all present here. Aside from Miller himself, we also get production from internet phenom Misogi, Josh Pan, and Holder. While official production credits aren’t available, it’s fairly obvious who did what (hint: Holder and Misogi probably handled most of the trap bangers). What’s interesting about the production in relation to Pink Guy’s prior outing is that he tries his hand at a number of new genres here. “High School Blink193” is exactly what it says it is (overly ironic Blink-182
parody), and “Help,” for all its insensitivity, is pretty good emo pastiche. The more Joji
influenced numbers like “I Will Get A Vasectomy” have graduated from 2000s ukulele cover to full-blooded folk pop (complete with multi-tracking!). As a general aural experience, this album is already one of 2017’s best and most eclectic (just listen at how “STFU” or “She’s So Nice” flip between guitar ballads and trap bangers).
But the one thing that perplexes me about this project are the lyrics. There are three lyrical templates that Pink Guy employs on the various tracks on this album. There’s the ironic (but not especially subversive) brag rap tracks like “Rice Balls,” “Dumplings,” and “Fried Noodles” (I see a trend emerging). They’re not especially well-written, and usually revolve around how Pink Guy will take your girl, have sex with her, and then go jerk off to gay porn. A line like “jerk it to my titties, pop it off on some gay ***” is fairly common on these tracks.
Then there’s the second template: the shock humor tracks. These are the tracks that take sensitive subject matter like self-harm, depression, and racism, and posits them as first-world problems reserved exclusively for internet denizens. While problematic (it’s a Pink Guy album, no one expected otherwise), these tracks make for some of the more interesting lyrical moments on the album. “She’s So Nice” takes infidelity and, in its coda, flips it. The girl in question wasn’t cajoled into cheating on her boyfriend because of the narrator’s infallible charm or immaculate dick game. It was simply because she wanted to. It’s probably not as liberatory and progressive as I make it sound (he ends by saying “it goes to show that none of these bitches are worth a dime”), but it’s still a nice change. “White Is Right” is legitimately funny in its sending up of racists, rapists, and other recipients of white privilege.
The last type of track are the weird and jarring non-sequiturs. Songs like “Dog Festival Directions” or “I Will Get A Vasectomy” where Pink Guy stops talking about himself almost entirely and opts for either storytelling or lecturing. On “Vasectomy,” he enters this weird liminal zone where he’s directly critiquing his audience for laughing. “Like damn, is that all you can come up with?/If you're gonna be racist at least be original, please” or “talking to people on the internet like you're some piece of ***” are lyrics that seem to be aimed directly for the comments section of any number of his videos. He handles these critiques really well, with his typical style of irreverent comedy coming through to make it palatable.
However, we don’t get a whole lot of those interesting, funny, or subversive tracks. We mostly get songs that look to parody modern mainstream hip-hop, but end up sounding more like legitimate attempts at chart toppers. “I Do It For My Hood” and “I Have A Gun” are funny as hell, but don’t really take the “Politikz” joke much further than the initial “Real Hip-Hop” or “Hand On My Gat” videos did. “SMD,” “Are You Serious,” and “Pink Life” can’t meaningfully be considered jokes or subversions. They’re just cookie-cutter trap rap songs, complete with overplayed ad-libs (skrrt, skrrt! Yeah yeah!). And this quality of being just another good-enough trap song undercuts a good portion of this album. There are literally hundreds of thousands of Soundcloud trap-rappers who are just okay enough to get a repost or a download (free
download mind you!) off Bandcamp. Even the more inane tracks like “Dora the Explora” and “Nickelodeon Girls” fail to really kick off beyond their initial premises (oh fun, he’s a pedophile!).
All of this amounts to an album that’s really hard to genuinely rate. If you evaluate it as just a rap album, it’s a bit too long and scattershot to sit through from beginning to end. While the trap tracks are more than enough to enliven a party or a cypher, songs like “Hot Nickel Ball on a Pussy” and “I Have A Gun” are grating as all hell. As a weird compilation album, it fares well as a collection of good to great tracks that doesn’t quite flow well (why the hell didn’t he put “Gays 4 Donald” and “White Is Right” back to back? Why did he end the album with “Sex Daisuki”?) The lyrics range from hilarious to trite, insipid to insightful to random, but they’re almost always made palatable by the eclectic and incredibly well-done production. All I can really say is that, if you liked Pink Guy
, then you’ll LOVE Pink Season
. It’s better in almost every way. In my review of the last Pink Guy album, I wrote that “the fact that this album is comparatively good says a lot about both Pink Guy and contemporary hip-hop.” And that fact is even more true on Pink Season
. When an internet shock humorist can get some Soundcloud kids to make beats for him, rap sometimes funny junk over them, and still chart on the Billboard Top 200, you know that something’s either profoundly wrong or profoundly right with the world. This album proves it’s the latter.